Across the Corn Belt, outside of a few light showers in the western Corn Belt, dry but cooler weather is allowing some fieldwork to resume. However, as of October 20, the corn harvest lags the 5-year average by more than 30 percentage points in Illinois (36 percent complete), while the soybean harvest remains more than 40 percentage points behind the 5- year average in the upper Midwest according to USDA-NASS.
On the Plains, chilly, unsettled weather in northern portions of the region is slowing winter wheat planting and emergence. In contrast, dry weather is promoting fieldwork over the central and southern Plains, though, acute short-term dryness in eastern Colorado and environs is impacting winter wheat establishment.
In the South, after recent much-needed drought-easing rainfall, sunny skies have returned to the region. While the last two weeks have featured widespread moderate to heavy rain over much of the region, areas from northern Mississippi into northwestern Georgia and south-central Tennessee remained comparatively dry.
In the West, dry, warm weather prevails, though rain and high-elevation snow linger in the northern Rockies. There remains an elevated to critical risk for wildfires in southwestern and north-central California.
High pressure currently centered over the south-central U.S. will slide east, providing sunny skies and near- to above-normal temperatures to the eastern third of the nation. Meanwhile, a disturbance over the northern High Plains will race southeastward, generating upslope snows over the northern and central Rockies. As energy from this disturbance reaches the western Gulf Coast States by week’s end, a new area of low pressure coupled with abundant Gulf moisture will lead to increasingly heavy rainfall spreading northeastward from the Mississippi Delta into the lower Ohio Valley, with scattered showers developing across the lower Southeast. Concurrently, the coldest air of the season will surge southward from central Canada over the nation’s mid-section Saturday and Sunday, with temperatures averaging 10 to 20°F below normal over much of the Great Plains and Mississippi Valley by early next week. Out west, dry, warmer-than-normal weather will linger into the weekend, before the aforementioned cold air encroaches from the north and east.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures from the Pacific Coast to the Mississippi Valley, with warmer-than-normal conditions limited to the Southeast and Atlantic Coast States. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation east of the Rockies should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions across much of the West